Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Much Ado About Vance

Second post! These are sketches I did last September during an out-door production of Much Ado About Nothing in Cannon Beach. One of the most fun plays I've ever attended. In slow moments at work and while waiting for this and that I've been "hand-tipping" them because the sketchbook I used has a really heavy-weight paper. Perfect for my travel paints which are always in my purse. The first is probably Leonato, and the second is Benedick in his masquerade chicken mask. The last is Vance during a concert. Love those converse.

Magwyn and Dragwen

Okay, two posts here with multiple pictures. Most of these have been taken with my phone and "fixed" in photoshop, so bear with the result. Sketches! The first is Maggie listening intently to the recorded track to which she was playing her bodhran the day she and I did recording for Hank Cramer in Fife. Lots and lots of fun. The second is a way-cool dragon-man hybrid my art class and I developed as an anatomy/imagination experiment. Cause and effect: what happens when you cross a reptile with a human? I really liked the result.
#2 pencil on computer paper.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Katie's World

Haven't been posting nearly as much as I should, but this one deserves it. My dear little Katie has been a student of mine for two and a half years and today was her last class with me. As a good-bye present I painted her as she painted, dropping in behind her all her favorite things to paint from over the years: daffodils, her nieces and nephews, trees. She's gotten so good. You'll see the picture she was working on today on the table in front of her. This is from my phone, so it's not brilliant, but it will have to do.

Left-handed drawing, right-handed painting.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I apologize for the less than stellar quality of this photo-- I used my phone. This is Darte, the creature who lives under my coffee shop. The only part of him visible to the common observe is his back fur. This looks extraordinarily like grass, and would be mistaken as such on Google Earth. I painted him one slow shift when the wind was being particularly frisky and his fur was rippling gloriously. Thankfully he doesn't mind having it cut. You can find out more about him from the text on the painting. ☺

The Latest

Last week I was at some friends' watching their darling children. They have a stunning view of Mt. Rainier, as you will see from the photograph, and I couldn't help painting it as the sun set. All the light was shifting, so I had to catch it as I could, but I like the result. Then, the oldest and I had a deal: I would paint him and then he would paint me. My picture is below, and I wish I had his. Isn't that monster truck great?! It's definitely the first one I've done. ☺

My favorite part of our deal was that when he was posing me so he could sketch he wondered aloud how I should sit. "I know!" he answered his own question, "You can draw!" So he sketched me with a marker in my hand. ☺ Made my (very early) morning.


Here's something fun! Chelsea did a write-up on the painting I did for them (Lucy, below) on her excellent blog, which can be found here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Yea!!! I can finally post the project that has occupied a great deal of my artistic time lately. Chelsea, a school mate from Ecola, commissioned me to paint two portraits of her daughters. This is the first of Lucy. They live on a ranch in Eastern Oregon, and I truly enjoyed capturing that is this image. I tried to tell the story of Lucy more than render her precisely and I was pretty happy with the result. There is something delightful about children and puddles. The best part, of course, was that Chelsea likes it. ☺

Friday, March 26, 2010


I've been wanting to post this for months, but first it was a Christmas present for the family, and then I decided it needed more work. So I've finally got it done to my satisfaction (or as close I get to it), and have put it back on the wall. I used the trace and transfer method of this, and did most of it in a fit of inspiration. Took about four hours to get the bulk of it done, then probably that much again to tweak it. The victory? Maggie didn't like the picture of herself, but loves the painting. ☺ Happy sister.
Learned how to do eyes on this one.

Steven's Snowball Fight

This was actually homework I assigned for my class on Tuesday and decided to do myself. I wanted high contrast with the dark right next to the light. This took me a couple hours from sketch to finish and I really like it. It doesn't really look too much like the original subject, but I got his hair (which I've been trying to capture for a long time now). The tongue stuck out and clamped between his teeth is confusing, but if you know the story (he's in the middle of a gleeful snowball fight) it makes more sense. Still, context needs to not be the savior of a piece. So it needs work. But I like how different it is from my normal stuff, and how much more it is like the portraits of my favorite artist, John Singer Sargent.
I also learned that I need to be careful of copying the mistakes of the photograph: his real nose looks nothing like that, and the picture sent me the wrong way.


Studies in contrast! This was winter poplars, out of my head, trying to remember from earlier this year.... yeah. Needs work, but I have made my peace with it. It didn't work at all till I made the road purple. Funny how that works!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Steph and Joel

This has been a fun one! My friend and former roommate Stephanie married a fantastic guy last year (Joel) and this is their much-belated wedding gift. I had their collusion on it, which was awesome; Steph sent me a couple pictures she would like as paintings and I got to pick. I didn't fall in love with either of the shots right away, but suddenly one evening the muse descended with a rush and this was the result. I did the trace-and-transfer method (which I usually do with portraiture that "matters") on aqua board (or clayboard) which I love. It's a little tougher to work with in that it sets pretty irrevocably, but since you're on board it doesn't wrinkle or warp and when it's done you can just stick it in a frame! If, that is, you have painted it the right size for a frame. Which I didn't. So we had to mat it creatively. But Jesus worked that whole thing out in forty minutes as I was on my way to give it to the lovely lady herself. This was so much fun to do. Loved the wall. And the plus about truly knowing the people I'm painting is that when I didn't get her mouth exactly the way it is in the photo, I could relax because I knew it was still a common Stephanie expression.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Did not realize how many times I've painted my cousin Sara! Obviously I have good taste. ☺ I'll keep painting her too. I have an ultimate portrait in mind for later.... (not involving frisbee) This is from a couple summers ago. Probably 2007. Uncle Phil took us fishing on Mayfield and we got a lot of good pictures that day. This one has been kicking around my art bag since then and one afternoon in class I just whipped it out to practice. The mouth is not hers at all, but the hair, the eyes, and nose, and the attitude in which she sits is all Sara! I like the looseness of this one. Classic watercolor, but sometimes that's best. Needs more contrast, actually, but I never finished this one either. Not even signed.

Looks a lot like chaos

This one was an experiment with "pouring", inspired by this painting by John Howe. I dropped highly saturated blue and pink onto wet paper, let it set a little, then literally poured a bowl of thick black watercolor on top. The trouble with black and watercolor is that it goes dead if one isn't very, very careful. The context of the black in the painting is very important, and the ratio of pigment to water is very important. Usually I say don't use black out of a tube at all: mix it! But John challenged me to try tube black and see if I could wrangle anything from it. Honestly, I was thrilled with the result.


Here's an odd one. Summer of 2008 I took a class with Marlene Ahmann. She's a fantastic local artist, inspired frequently by Zoltan Szabo. Taught us a lot about negative shapes. For this exercise we were told to find something outside we liked and paint it, using negative shapes and light. I loved the way the sun lit up this gnarled and ancient rhododendron. I never really finished it, but it's grown on me as-is. What do people think? What does it need?

Tuscan Road

I'm going to upload a few today, since I'm feeling like it and have the time because I'm home recovering from a doozy of a cold. This is one of my oldest pieces (as noted by the old signature), but it's also a favorite. It's some road in Tuscany that I've never seen, but which has inhabited my brain for years and years. I want to go there someday.


Time for a little update! It's not that I haven't been painting or drawing anything, I just haven't been scanning and uploading. ☺ Below is a little class demonstration that got wild. It was all by instinct after I copied the initial sketch by Susanne (thank you!). Didn't know where it was going. Once home I brightened it up with pastels. I love mixed media! And yea for making flowers immortal!
(I've already made it into a card. ☺)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Manhole Man

More homework! Assigned by (mostly) Taite Voetberg during Tuesday's class. I was told to do a statue in browns and oranges and reds and purples. Originally it was to be The Thinker, but finding a shot of that among my friends' pictures was unrealistic so I settled for this awesome bronze from.... Bulgaria, I think. Some friends visited Europe a couple years ago and let me snitch pictures. I just love that they have statues coming up out of the cobblestone streets! Hand-drawn and watercolored in about two hours.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Yes, homework. One of the only New Year resolutions I made was to invite my art students to give me homework, since I have thus far been the sole recipient of that delight. I was told on Tuesday to do a sky, "Since we know how much you love doing nature," and "the blue has to touch the orange."
Well. I have apparently taught them something, because they now know what is difficult! Not creating brown mud out of ethereal blues and oranges nestled against each other is... well, difficult. ☺ But here is my attempt. I decided to use the "island in my mind" again, just as a point of interest against the all-important sky.
(And, if you'll notice, Bethany, there are several places where blue touches orange. ☺)
There's another new post below, too!

Sarah Fishing

Yea! One more given so now I can share it. ☺ This was a gift, several years over-due, to my fabulous cousin Peter. I had promised him a painting of his choice for a birthday or Christmas, but we were never able to settle on a subject. Then, at Thanksgiving, he showed me this shot of his sister Sarah fishing off the rocks at Reef Point, and it was chosen. The day before a family gathering at my aunt's, I got the unmistakable sudden urge, obtained the picture from him, and knocked this out in a little less than four hours. When the shoe fits....
The ponytail makes it.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Well! For much of December I could not post any projects because they were all for Christmas and birthdays. Those are almost all over now, so here are most of them. Two are not finished yet, and one is not given yet, so you'll have to wait for another day.

The first was for Clan Cummins. I did it over a year ago, and added the finishing touches on the 26th. This was beloved Chamois (pronounced Shammi), departed over eight years ago now. The picture from which I took the painting was from her puppy days. Trace and transfer method, watercolor.
This second is another dog, Piper, as a puppy, with faithful owner Sara. It was begun as something to do, and turned out so well it was converted into a Cousin-Christmas gift. ☺ Sketch and watercolor.

Lastly, a couple of sketches from my new sketchbook (which I love). The first is a snowboarder, dragging his left hand in the mountain, helmet bent, left foot forward (for those of you who care).
The second is a dragon, one of the many I doodle. I was trying to make this one look more nefarious than not. It's all in the angle of the eyelid. ☺ Left-handed, pencil on paper.